JOURNEY JOURNAL... Sarasota, Florida
A return visit to the burgeoning Sarasota National Cemetery led to a realization that much progress has been made since a previous stopover when it was in its embryonic stages. Land for the state’s seventh national burial site for veterans was acquired in 2007 and is situated on 295 acres; originally a ranch, it had been farmed since the 1800s. Now there is a lovely administration building and welcome center rather than construction trailers that formerly served as the seat of operations. Gravesites can be located via a kiosk. Personnel are on hand to offer information. Attractive committal shelters dot the landscape, proffering an alternative to final rites at the gravesides. An expansive columbarium complex has been added, and an amphitheater will rise from the ground in the near future.